Despite losing one battle Wednesday (Jan. 31), United Steelworkers Local 9550 still plans to fight the war as the union tries to save 450 jobs at the Cequent Performance Products plant in Goshen, Ind.
In fact, they won another battle in the ruling handed down by Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. Wednesday in U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana. Miller ruled against the union’s attempt to be granted a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Cequent from moving equipment out of its Goshen plant in preparation for its move to Mexico.
“Obviously we are disappointed in that portion of the ruling of the court,” said Jim Robinson, United Steelworkers District 7 director.
However, Miller did affirm a previous ruling that the dispute over the company being able to outsource jobs while laying people off, is subject to arbitration.
“The court confirmed that grievance was arbitrable, and confirmed that the arbitrator had sufficient authority to remedy what the company is doing,” Robinson said.
“So to that extent we feel positive about the decision. What we’re saying is, you are sending work to Mexico and laying people off and that violates the contract.”
Cequent officials could not be reached for comment. The company is owned by Detroit, Mich.-based Trimas Corp., which announced the layoffs in late November.
No date has been set for the arbitration hearing, said Mike O’Brien, Sub District 4 director for much of northern Indiana.
The union has received dates from the arbitrator, O’Brien said, and is waiting for the company to respond.
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Cequent Consumer Products has launched its Reese Towpower Carbon Forged line of patented ball mount bars that increases towing capacity, according to a press release.
The ball mounts carry a 100,000-mile road tested stamp of approval and feature the patented Reese Towpower Interlock One Wrench Tightening System for quick and easy securing of the hitch ball. The new products will be available at retail in March 2013.
“Carbon Forged is the next innovation from Reese Towpower,” said Eric Yukich, marketing director. “With increased strength, built-in convenience and innovative design, our industry partners are excited and eager to offer these to consumers and enthusiasts in the coming year.”
Cequent Consumer Products, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of premium towing and trailer products, recently debuted Carbon Forged at the 2012 Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo (AAPEX) held at the Sand’s Expo in Las Vegas, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
A website for Carbon forged was created at www.CarbonForgedTough.com, which features product information, photos and video.
In addition, Cequent Consumer Products also launched at the show its Carbon Forged with a Quick Response Code program which uses DENSO Wave original ISO complaint QR Codes. The code assures maximum performance and optimum user scan ability.
Customers who scan the code will be taken to a mobile version of the Carbon Forged website to learn more about the products while they are shopping.
The United Steelworkers (USW) International representatives, on behalf of more than 350 Local 9550 members, today (Nov. 8) filed a lawsuit against Cequent Performance Products Inc. in federal court to enjoin the company from moving parts and equipment out of its Goshen, Ind., facility to a plant in Reynosa, Mexico.
The union reported in a press release that Cequent has continued to move parts and equipment out of the plant even though the parties are still bargaining over the decision to move the work out of the country. Cequent, a subsidiary of Bloomfield, Mich.-based TriMas Corp., builds hitch products under the brand names Bulldog, ROLA, Highland, The Pro’s Brand, Draw-Tite, Reese, Hidden Hitch, Fulton, Wesbar and Tekonsha.
Cequent representatives told the union on Oct. 18 it would make its decision as to whether or not it would move the production of trailer hitches to Mexico in order to secure lower wages. Amid a great deal of media attention following union-organized demonstrations outside the Cequent plant on U.S. 33 on the east side of Goshen, the parties have had two meetings. TriMas said it would reach a final decision by Nov. 19.
The USW said in the press release it has offered to continue to meet and bargain over the decision to move – an offer that was rejected by Cequent. The union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board for the company’s alleged failure to bargain in good faith.
“We hope that this will get Cequent’s attention and show them that the Steelworkers are serious about trying to keep the work in the United States, we are serious about protecting the rights of our members, and we are serious about Cequent playing by the same rules we are all subject to,” said USW Sub-4 Director Mike O’Brien.
TriMas Corp., parent company of Cequent Performance Products, has reached a preliminary recommendation to shut down its Goshen, Ind., plant, according to TriMas spokesperson Alan Upchurch.
“This is just a preliminary recommendation,” Upchurch said. “The final decision will be made sometime in mid- to late November.”
According to a report in the Goshen News, Upchurch said the Cequent facility in Goshen employs about 450 people. While some of those may be able to transfer to another plant, he was not sure how many or when.
“Every year, the company evaluates growth plans,” Upchurch said. “In the evaluation, they saw the need to make changes to make the business more competitive, which is why there is the preliminary recommendation.”
Employees of Cequent were informed of this recommendation last week, according to Upchurch.
Cequent is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of accessories for light trucks, sport utility vehicles, recreational vehicles, passenger cars and trailers of all types. Products include cargo management and rack systems, towing and hitch systems and trailer and electrical brake systems. Brands include Bulldog, ROLA, Highland, The Pro’s Brand, Draw-Tite, Reese, Hidden Hitch, Fulton, Wesbar and Tekonsha.
According to TriMas’ website, the parent company had net sales of $1.084 billion in 2011, with 35% of those sales coming from Cequent North America, which includes the Goshen plant. The 2011 net sales were the highest figures for TriMas since 2008, according to the website.
The Recreational Vehicle Aftermarket Association (RVAA) presented Cequent Performance Products Inc. with the 2012 Product of the Year Runner-up award for their new Reese Goose Box RV coupler.
The Reese Goose Box is a solution for fifth-wheel RV users who prefer to use gooseneck hitches. The airbag technology used in the Goose Box reduces the stress to the RV frame. The combination of the airbag, dual shocks and rubber bumpers provides multi-directional shock absorption for a smoother driving experience.
“The proper installation of a Goose Box is acceptable under most RV frame warranties,” said Gail Matheus, GM-NA Automotive Products, “whereas other gooseneck solutions can void the RV frame warranty.”
For more information on the Goose Box, visit www.ReeseProducts.com.
TriMas Corp. today (July 19) announced that subsidiary Cequent Performance Products reached an agreement with Pacific Rim International LLC and Curt Manufacturing LLC that protects Cequent’s intellectual property rights for its Bulldog brand collar lock coupler design.
According to a news release, Cequent owns the patent that protects its Bulldog collar lock coupler, which is the leading design in the medium-weight industrial and livestock trailer markets. Cequent’s patented Bulldog coupler includes a proprietary hollow, circular cross-section that provides substantial weight savings and improved function in securing a “bumper pull” trailer to the hitch ball on a truck.
Cequent discovered that Pacific Rim and Curt sold couplers nearly identical to the patented technology in Cequent’s Bulldog couplers, and filed a patent infringement suit against them. In response, Pacific Rim and Curt agreed to settle the dispute with Cequent.
As part of the settlement, Pacific Rim agreed to pay Cequent an undisclosed sum and sell off its remaining, minimal inventory by Aug. 31. Pacific Rim and Curt further agreed to stop manufacturing or selling any further couplers having Cequent’s proprietary hollow, circular cross-section as of August 31.
The court agreed to retain jurisdiction over the terms of the settlement.
TriMas Corp. announced today (June 21) that its Cequent Performance Products electrical plant in Reynosa, Mexico, passed the one million-hour mark this month without without having an injury that resulted in a lost work day. According to a press release, the milestone occurred over a period of more than three years.
“This milestone is a reflection of the combined efforts of all employees at the Cequent Performance Products electrical plant in Reynosa, working together for a common goal – safety,” said Tom Benson, president of Cequent Performance Products. “We are all pleased with this achievement and are committed to providing an environment that promotes continuous improvement in all we do.”
Cequent is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of accessories for light trucks, sport utility vehicles, recreational vehicles, passenger cars and trailers of all types. Products include cargo management and rack systems, towing and hitch systems, and trailer and electrical brake systems. Brands include Bulldog, ROLA, Highland, The Pro’s Brand, Draw-Tite, Reese, Hidden Hitch, Fulton, Wesbar, and Tekonsha.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas Corp., parent of RV supplier Cequent Performance Products Inc., today (Feb. 27) reported record fourth-quarter and full-year sales.
Revenue during the fourth quarter from continuing operations was $259.7 million, an increase of 22.2% compared to fourth quarter 2010. Fourth quarter 2011 income from continuing operations was $7.1 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, as compared to $7.6 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2010.
For the year ended Dec. 31, the company reported sales from continuing operations of just over $1 billion, an increase of 20.1% compared to 2010. TiMas reported full year income from continuing operations of $50.8 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, compared to income from continuing operations of $38.9 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, in 2010.
Other TriMas 2011 highlights:
• Generated 2011 Free Cash Flow of $63.2 million, or more than 115% of income from continuing operations.
• Reduced total indebtedness, net of cash, from $448.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2010, to $381.0 million as of Dec. 31, 2011.
• Refined the business portfolio to support strategic imperatives and drive the highest return for stakeholders by completing three bolt-on acquisitions and selling the precision cutting tool and specialty fittings businesses.
• Refinanced the company’s U.S. credit facilities and amended its accounts receivable facility to reduce interest costs, extend maturities and improve financial and operational flexibility.
The company also announced acquisition of 70% ownership of Arminak & Associates, a leader in the design and supply of foamers, lotion pumps, fine mist sprayers and other packaging solutions for the cosmetic, personal care and household product markets. Arminak will become part of Rieke, within the Packaging segment.
“We are proud of our many accomplishments in 2011, as our balanced and structured approach to growth, productivity and cash generation drove positive results, significantly better than our early expectations,” said David Wathen, TriMas president and CEO. “We achieved sales growth of 20%, resulting primarily from the successful execution of our strategic growth initiatives including product innovation, geographic expansion and bolt-on acquisitions. We remained focused on our productivity and lean initiatives, and we used these savings to fund growth, offset inflation and maintain operating margin in a year of increased growth investment. We generated strong cash flow, managed our operating working capital as a percentage of sales and reduced interest costs. All of these successes, made possible by our dedicated employees, contributed to our earnings growth of approximately 40% on a comparable basis with 2010.”
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Cequent Performance Products Inc.’s introduction of the new Reese Goose Box pin box replacement will benefit RV enthusiasts who use a gooseneck hitch to tow their fifth-wheel trailer, according to a press release.
The Reese Goose Box is a single unit which replaces the old RV Pin Box/adaptor system and uses proven Reese 5th Airborne technology. The combination of an airbag, dual shocks and rubber bumpers used in the Goose Box provides multi-directional shock absorption for a smoother driving experience that RV enthusiasts will appreciate.
Cequent reported that Goose Box was “thoroughly put through its paces” at both the Plymouth, Mich.-based company’s state-of-the-art test laboratory and the Bosch Proving Grounds. Performance tests were conducted on a traditional pin box, existing gooseneck extension adaptors and the Goose Box. The results were conclusive as Rich Pilarski, Bosch senior engineer, noted, “The overall results showed that the Goose Box was very similar in performance to the standard (fifth-wheel) pin box.”
After reviewing the Bosch Test reports, Lippert Components Inc. signed on as the exclusive supplier to RV OEMs of the Goose Box making it the first RV gooseneck hitch adapter to be accepted by a RV frame manufacturer.
The patent pending Goose Box will be available both as a retrofit kit in the aftermarket and on new models directly through RV manufacturers.
Camping is a fun experience — but for some, the drive there is anything but. Adding the tongue weight of a travel trailer to the rear of a tow vehicle alters its geometry and can, in some situations, create an unsafe driving environment. The simple solution is to utilize a weight-distributing hitch. Cequent Performance Products Inc. has introduced its Pro Series complete weight-distribution kit that incorporates everything needed to improve towing safety and performance. The package includes a 2 5/16-inch hitch ball and sway control ball that have been pre-installed on the fabricated weight-distributing head, u-bolts and chains pre-installed on a choice of 550-, 750- or 1,000-pound spring bars, friction sway control, welded hitch bar and mounting hardware. For more information, contact Cequent Performance Products, 47774 Anchor Ct. West, Plymouth, MI 48170; (800) 632-3290, www.cequentgroup.com.